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    Calatrava's Classical Greek

    by Brian Libby

    To those who have followed the illustrious career of Spanish-born architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, it was no surprise that he was the top choice of organizers of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In planning and designing the expansion of the historic sports complex, he was given a daunting task: not just to prepare the host city for the athletes and onlookers, but to consider the lasting purpose of the architecture.

    All too often, Olympic host cities have constructed massive and expensive facilities for the games, only to have these spaces rendered largely inappropriate or irrelevant for further use. In Athens, Calatrava wanted to make the sports complex a landmark of continuing value for the people of Greece.

    His works include dramatic new roofs for two existing stadiums and other structures for vast plazas and gathering areas, all featuring his distinctive, bold, white tubular arches or kinetic sculptures. Unlike other modern-day architects working on Olympic facilities, Calatrava had the weight of thousands of years of history to contend with, at the very birthplace of the games.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The polycarbonate roof is suspended by cables from large arches.
    Photo: Barbara Burg/ Oliver Schuh

    ArchWeek Image

    The 2004 Olympic Stadium in Athens, centerpiece of work by Santiago Calatrava.
    Photo: Barbara Burg/ Oliver Schuh


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